10 Ways to Celebrate International Translation Day


In one month we will be celebrating International Translation Day. Although translators and interpreters are quick to rightly point out that the professions are distinct, tradition has allowed for interpreters to get in on the celebration as well - proof of the language community’s dedication to inclusivity and all around awesomeness.

In preparation for International Translation Day (September 30th), here are a few ideas on how you and your team of interpreters might celebrate the occasion:

  1. Celebrate the whole person. Interpreters are very interesting people. Which of your interpreters are also athletes, musicians, gardeners, culinary artists, sports fans, etc.? Perhaps give a small gift that represents or supports their other passions, talents and interests.
  2. Mail a handwritten note to each interpreter’s home address using the postal service. That’s right. Paper. Stamps. Ink. The works. Imagine getting home at the end of the day and finding a personalized card tucked between the bills and junk mail. Pretty neat.
  3. Have a trivia contest or other fun game. Interpreters like learning things and sharing what they know. Make a game of it. Add a competitive incentive if that’s what your team goes for or just keep it fun for fun’s sake.
  4. Create a “neat experiences” board for interpreters to share their positive experiences and professional highlights. You can use a poster board, a whiteboard, a bulletin board or a virtual message board. Just make sure it’s accessible and visible and that your team knows what it’s there for. You might post a couple of messages to get things going.
  5. Make it a campus-wide celebration. Team up with other departments in the hospital to post “We Love Our Interpreters” signs around campus. Jazz it up by including fun facts about your organization’s interpreters and language access services.
  6. Create celebratory T-shirts or buttons that your team can wear that day or week. You might find some neat and customizable options at Baudville.com.
  7. Share a meal or other treat. Organize a potluck, cater something in, or collaborate with the department and/or hospital leadership to make a special feast or grab-n-go goodies. Bonus tip: if an interpreter can’t make it to the office during the celebration, be sure to find a way to include that person in a different way. No one likes being forgotten or missing the party.
  8. Create mini care packages. You know your team best. What are some things that would brighten their day and fit into a small bag? Keep in mind that they might have to carry this with them for the remainder of the day. Some ideas: a bouquet of colorful pens, small notepad, mints, gift card, snack bar, mini puzzle books (Sudoku, word search, etc.), mini coloring books (Yes, they make them for adults now.), etc.
  9. Surprise your team between assignments. This one takes a bit of logistical planning, but the impact can be huge. Plus, it’s a lot of fun. Instead of waiting for your team to come to you, catch your interpreters in the hallways, in the parking lot or other places when they are between assignments. Five seconds is all it takes to let them know how much you appreciate their work and give them a personalized note or small token of appreciation (see #1 and #8 for ideas). 
  10. Think outside the office and beyond the team. Interpreters lovingly and willingly sacrifice a lot in order to do the work they love. This sacrifice impacts the people closest to them.  Find a way to include the family and loved ones of your interpreter team members in the celebration. Organize a group event: games, goodies, awards, music, etc. Give a whole-family gift: a gift card for dinner out (or home delivered), a family game night package, a family movie night package, a craft project, etc. 

How will you celebrate International Translation Day? Share your plans and ideas. 

Oh, and if you missed the date, don't worry. Every day is a good day to celebrate translators and interpreters.